While nine candidates have now been confirmed and ratified to contest the next General Election, the name - so far not on the list - that had tongues wagging at the Fine Gael convention in Monaghan on Monday night, was that of Seanie Johnston.
The prospect of the Cavan footballer being stamped on ballot papers in the Cavan Monaghan constituency alongside a Fine Gael logo with running mates Minister Heather Humphreys and Senator Joe O’Reilly was widely discussed in the wake of Cllr Peter McVitty’s withdrawal. However the Cavan Gaels’ forward dismissed suggestions of an approach by the party for the slot. “Definitely untrue. Well, untrue as of now. I don’t know how that got around without me knowing about it,” Johnston told the Celt. “The first I have heard of it was from you,” he said of the suggestion. However when it was put to him that politics is not in his immediate future he cagily replied: “I didn’t say that now.”
As Cavan County Executive Fine Gael Chairperson Michael Smith is responsible for ensuring all T’s get crossed and the dots are put atop the I’s: “We are meeting a number of people today. There is nobody confirmed. Whoever we meet, there will be a process. Headquarters will have to meet them. It’s not just that simple,” he said on Tuesday.
“We don’t have a single person who we could say is our candidate. I had a call at 7:50am this morning of a female that I had never heard of.” Mr Smith acknowledged that Seanie Johnston had been mentioned: “He has been talked about but there is another person came [to our attention] over the weekend. They will be spoken to too.”
Mr Smith was reluctant to clarify the situation: “They are not involved in politics and they would not want their name disclosed.”
When the last name on the ticket is finalised procedure will kick in: “Head office naturally will have the final say, and they are involved, but they don’t decide everything. It is up to [the people on] the ground to get the names.”
* For full story, including an overview of the General Election race card so far in Cavan and Monaghan, pick up a copy of The Anglo-Celt in shops today.